Chapter 4. Moving

Chapter Four
Moving

February 21st

Yes, I survived. What is it? Don’t look so sad. Me surviving is a GOOD sort of thing. Anyway, back to the story.

We race through the trees for what seems like days, and finally, we arrive back at the lakeside camp. Wally settles down to rest, but Mrs Wombat immediately rouses him.

“What is it, mum? I’m sleeping.”

“We can’t stay here! All of the cats know EXACTLY where we are. And believe me, they won’t be nice and put us in cell next time. We’ll be eaten straight away!” shouts Mrs Wombat. She looks around at the blank expressions on our faces. “Seriously!? Has no one thought about it before!?” I feel the tip of my nose go red. I stare down at the ground, embarrassed. We are silent for a while. Then, finally, Wilfred speaks.

“I say we leave the forest, and find somewhere else to live.”

“Somewhere over seas.” Mr Wombat adds. “We don’t want the cats to follow our scent.”

“I’m in!” I say, exited.

“So am I” says Mrs Wombat. We all turn to Wally.

“For once, I agree. I don’t want to be eaten just yet!”

“Then it’s decided” says Mrs Wombat. “And do you know where that means we’re going next?”

“THE HARBOUR!!!!!”

“And does anyone know how long that trip is?”

“NO!!!”

“It is 50km which, in good weather conditions, will take us five days.”

“What about BAD weather conditions?” Wally pipes up.

“It depends how bad.” says Mrs Wombat.

“BAD BAD BAD!”

“um… well…”

“If it’s bad, then we’ll all sink into the mud and DIE!” I say.

“Exactly!”

“Let’s get going, or we’ll never get there at all!”

“Good idea. Stanley, will you help Wally get into my pouch?”

“Sure!” I lift Wally up, and he clambers into his mother’s pouch.

“Thanks Stanley!”

“Wilfred! Don’t forget my cheese collection!”

“Oh Stanley…You and that cheese collection are INSEPARABLE!”

“Let’s go.” We march out of camp, and into the soft evening air.

The next morning, we are all absolutely EXHAUSTED. (All except Wally. He slept in Mrs Wombat’s pouch.) We have been walking all night, and Mrs Wombat says we have only covered about 10km!

We march into a meadow filled with flowers. I spot some edible roots and bulbs, and we settle down for lunch. Once we finish the small but delicious collection of roots and bulbs, Wally and I set out to find a bigger lunch. Now I have a better chance to look around, I see that bordering our meadow, there are a selection of large red and orange cliffs. Then I look closer, and see that the ledges are covered in bird’s nests, and I think it’s breeding season! YES! Perfect lunch! (If I can reach it.) I race towards the cliffs, the stop and think. If I can get the eggs, then how can I get enough for us all? I walk back to the picnic, and collect three large bags. That should do it! I run back to the cliff, clamp the bags between my teeth, and clamber up to the first nest. It has four large grey eggs. I put them all in the first bag, which is now a quarter full. Then I clamber into the next nest, and steal the five eggs that are inside. This goes on until all the bags are completely full. Then, with all three bags thumping against my back, I start to carefully lower myself down. About halfway down, however, my foot slips, and I slide right off the ledge I am standing on and tumble to the bottom of the huge cliff. As I spiral downwards, I say to myself

“I’ve had too much of falling off cliffs this week.” Because I have.

When I reach the bottom, Wilfred, (who is standing at the base of the cliff,) catches the eggs, and completely ignores me. “So you care about the eggs more than me.” I say grumpily.

“Well, I can eat the eggs, but I can’t eat YOU!”

“Why not?”

“Too many little bones.”

“Hmmph.”

“Oh, and by the way, the wombats are vegan.”

“Oh great. I have to find more food.”

“Do you want them to die?”

“Yes.”

“Stanley!”

“Oh fine.” I spend the next hour in the meadows, looking for food. So far I have found: ten mushrooms, one hundred edible roots and bulbs, some nice green moss that tastes like peppermint, three different kinds of edible flower, some salad leaves and a slab of metal to cook the eggs on. I also saw a clear stream running through a small grove of trees in the centre of the field.

When I get back to camp, me and Wilfred light a fire by rubbing a hard, sharp stick across the groove in a huge and soft board of wood. Then we carefully place the slab of metal onto our small, hot fire. I crack two eggs, and they satisfyingly ooze out and onto the metal, the orange in the middle, the white on the outside.

The wombats love my salad, and we all tuck into dinner.

“It’s so late! I think that we’ll have to find a place to settle down for the night!” says Mrs Wombat.

“I thought I saw a cave in the cliffs back there” Wilfred says.

“Great! let’s check it out!” We all march over to the dark circle in the cliff, which is indeed a cave.

“This is very warm!” says Mrs Wombat. “Let’s sleep here tonight. And we do.

Then, at about midnight, something wakes me up. I don’t know what it is, but it doesn’t sound friendly. At first, it is a single, moaning yowl that speaks of loss, loss and terrible anger. I fall into the music. Then, more yowls join it. I pick out one voice that sounds louder than the rest. It speaks of anger, rage, FURY, but at the same time, it feels loss, and a terrible pain. Suddenly, I snap back to my senses. The cats! The yowling stops. And then, I see the cats silhouetted against the dark sky.

“Deadeyes!” one of the cats says, “I smell a rat!”

“Go check the scent out, Rosy Posy Eater Of Tosy.”

“Rightyo, Deadeyes.”

The cat (who I am assuming is Rosy Posy Eater Of Tosy) creeps towards our cave. I dart to the back of the cave, and cower in the shadows. She sniffs the air.

“The rat has been here.” she snarls back to Deadeyes.

“Good. We’re on the right trail.”

The next morning, we move on. I tell the others about my encounter with the wild cats. (Well, all except Wally. Mrs Wombat told me not to tell him any more scary tales. Apparently, he had nightmares last night about wild cats eating Mr Wombat!) We pack up, and each strap two or three bags of food and water to our backs. I take two bags of eggs, and so does Wilfred. Wilfred also has the metal slab and the soft board and hard stick. Mrs Wombat has a bag of salad greens, a bag of edible peppermint moss, and a bag of roots and bulbs. Mr Wombat has a bag of mushrooms, a bag of edible flowers, and a bag packed full of straw bedding. Wally has two bags (which I made out of kelp at my old home) of water.

We set out in the hot summer sun. After a few more days of walking, we are in a hot, humid forest. More than half our supplies that we packed at the meadow are gone, and Mrs Wombat says there’s still 20km to go. Our situation is getting grave. Suddenly, a huge shadow looms over me. If it is a cat, I have no chance against it. I close my eyes, and wait for the terrible pain that will signal the end of my life. None comes. I open my eyes. It’s a big black greyhound! I squeeze my eyes tightly shut again, then open them. It’s still there! And this greyhound looks strangely familiar.

“Parsley?” I breath.

“Stanley!”

“Parsley! You were the only thing I missed about that house!”

“I missed you too!” says Parsley. Wilfred arrives.

“Stanley… Is that who I think it is?”

“Yes Wilfred! Yes Yes! It is!”

“PARSLEY!” Yells Wilfred.

“Yes! It’s me, Wilfred!” I notice that Mrs Wombat, Mr Wombat and Wally are staring at us, utterly confused. I quickly explain.

“It’s Parsley. Back at my old house, he used to give Wilfred and I rides around town. He was our best friend.”

“Yes, that’s right.” says Parsley. “Now, would you all mind having another ride…”

“Er… Parsley, it may not be the best time for this…”

“…TO THE HARBOUR?”

“Oh Parsley, would you really?”

“Yes! I would do anything for you! You’re my best friend!

“Oh Parsley! You are so kind!” We pack our supplies again, hop onto Parsley’s back, and sail into the sunset. TO THE HARBOUR!!!!!

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